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The market for organic produce in Canada has been growing steadily at a recent rate of about 20 per cent a year, according to the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada.

In the most recent Organics Insights Report conducted by Nielsen, sales of organic products at grocery stores and mass merchandisers totalled $654 million in 2007, a 20-per-cent growth over 2006 figures.

Alberta showed the highest growth in sales from 2006 to 2007 (27 per cent), followed by Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Quebec (22 per cent each), British Columbia (20 per cent), and Ontario and the Maritimes (17 per cent each).

Those number do not account for direct sales of certified organic produce at farmers' markets and farm gates across the country, a market the OACC estimates to be worth about $50 million.

On a provincial basis, more organic food is sold in Ontario stores than in other provinces. The province logged 38 per cent of national organics sales in 2007. However, B.C.'s market was stronger overall, with 22.9 per cent of the total organic sales bought up by only 13 per cent of the Canadian population, according to Nielsen figures

Compiled by Jessica Leeder

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